Carbon Monoxide Dangers from Neglecting Furnace Repairs and Maintenance in the Cincinnati Market
A gas furnace should be serviced every year. Failure to do so not only leads to an inefficient furnace, but can lead to carbon monoxide leakage, which is a killer.
Carbon monoxide is a gas formed of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, including natural gas. This incomplete combustion often occurs when there is insufficient oxygen available to complete the burn cycle. Common sources of carbon monoxide are gas appliances, gas fires and car engines.
Without proper ventilation, the carbon monoxide can linger, and enter the bloodstream of anyone nearby. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are non-specific and are similar to those of a cold or flu, which makes them difficult to diagnose. Symptoms include headache, nausea, abdominal pain, dizziness, sore throat and a dry cough. The main way to tell if the symptoms aren’t a cold or flu is the lack of a temperature.
Severe carbon monoxide poisoning results in an irregular heartbeat, hyperventilation, drowsiness, confusion, and difficulty breathing. Seizures and loss of consciousness can occur in the most serious incidents. Because of the non-specific nature of the symptoms, they can occur days or weeks after exposure. These might include confusion, loss of memory and lack of co-ordination.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is called the silent killer. Aptly named as you can’t see it, hear it, smell it or taste it. You don’t even know it’s happening because it’s undetectable to humans and the symptoms, as you have seen, are easily attributable to other things.
Each suspected case will have a blood test, and the levels of monoxide checked. Most people who are exposed to mild carbon monoxide poisoning make a full recovery if treated quickly. The best thing to do if you suspect someone of having been exposed is get them out of the area and let them breathe clean air. Get them to a doctor or hospital and let the professionals take over. Up to 50% of serious exposures can lead to longer term problems, so medical attention is essential.
Despite its seriousness, carbon monoxide poisoning is easily preventable. Having your gas furnace regularly serviced by a licensed dealer in Cincinnati is the most effective and important step in preventing it. Also make sure any chimneys or flues are also checked for blockages as any gas produced needs to be able to escape.
You can buy carbon monoxide alarms, which are a good idea for parents with children. They can be placed either near the furnace, or somewhere between the furnace and the bedrooms. It can alert you to leakage as it happens and hopefully prevent any issues. They are cheap and easy to install and read and every household with a gas furnace should have at least one.
In fact, in many states it’s a legal requirement. New York recently passed a new law called Amanda’s Law which made it illegal not to have carbon monoxide detectors in family homes. While common sense should always prevail over legislation, it’s another motivator to protect yourself and your family.